In 1987, the very first ARIA Awards came with a warning from the evening’s host Elton John: “If you want these awards to stay fun, keep them off television.”
ARIA listened, until 1992 when the awards were moved from Sydney to Melbourne, and from blurry memories to a national broadcast.
The ARIAs have been broadcast nationally ever since, with varying fortunes. The peak came in 2002, when 1.2 million Australians tuned in to see Olivia Newton-John inducted into the Hall Of Fame, and Kylie Minogue and Kasey Chambers take out numerous awards.
The low point came in 2012 when the awards pulled a mere 304,000 viewers. This was following 2011’s relegation to digital network Go!
Last night’s broadcast was the first time Channel Nine have had the program since 2013, and the broadcast did quite well, pulling 515,000 viewers – the 12th highest-rating show of the evening. (Home and Away pulled 675,000 viewers, but Home and Away has Pia Miller).
This is down from 2016’s 586,000 viewers, which was seen as a return to form after a few slow years.
Below are the ratings from the past few broadcasts, in reverse chronological order.